Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cairo on the Potomac

One of the issues central to the recent Egyptian protests (are we calling it a revolution?) was an emergency law that gave the government powers to limit dissent.  The Egyptian government took the broadest possible interpretation of "emergency" since the law had been in place for thirty years.

I would be willing to bet that most Americans find this outrageous and that they don't believe something like that could ever happen here.

Open Congress reports on an extension of the PATRIOT Act:
Yesterday, the Senate voted 74-8, with 18 senators abstaining, in favor of moving forward with legislation to extend three of the most controversial PATRIOT Act surveillance powers for four more years, without any modifications...

And so by the end of the week, these expansions of government surveillance powers that were hastily put in place following the shock of the 9/11 attacks will be extended once again. Why? Well, because, in the words of Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D, CA] on the Senate floor yesterday, “this is a time of heightened threat.” “Maybe no specific threat,” she added. “But certainly heightened threats.”
I guess since it's only been 10 years we've still got a way to go by Egyptian standards.

Perhaps all is not lost, Rand Paul is mounting a filibuster right now.

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